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In today's business world, layoffs are frequent and head count is becoming more scare. In most companies, employees are expected to be competent in multiple areas, but that usually means companies miss out on deep expertise.
One way companies are navigating this is a reliance on contractors and fractional experts, or agencies. Public relations and advertising agencies have long been common partners, but partners who specialize in unique business pains (such as HubSpot) are becoming more and more common.
On the plus side, you can get a ton of deep expertise for way less than hiring a full-time employee. HubSpot Consultants don't require health benefits or bonuses or any of the extra compensation attributed to FTEs. The total cost of compensation for a senior revops pro can run around $300,000. A fractional consultant can bring you the needed strategy and operational blueprints for way, way less.
A fraction of that, if you will.
BUT it's not all rainbows and flowers.
First, hiring a consultant isn't just rubbing a lamp and getting all your wishes granted. It's a partnership, and both of you will carry responsibilities. It may even require more of you, since the contractor will need a lot more help engaging other revenue stakeholders in your organization.
Second, some contractors are crappy, to be blunt. A wide breadth of platform knowledge doesn't translate to being a reliable partner.
So what are the most important traits to look for in a fractional HubSpot consultant? These are the five you need to look for:

They Listen More Than They Talk

The point of hiring a fractional consultant vs a HubSpot agency is you get a dedicated person who will listen to you, find your needs, and prescribe the right courses of action. Many agencies, and a lot of consultants, being a standard set of "playbooks" to the table - which are templated procedures that can be replicated across an infinite amount of clients.
Every organization is different. Every HubSpot implementation is different. Playbooks are good for a consultant to have, but they're not a substitute for the specific plan your organization needs.
Also, you may have a good idea of what you need, but getting from where things currently stand to where they need to be may require a number of steps you're unaware of.

Every engagement with a consultant or agency should begin with an audit and/or a collaborative discovery workshop.


They Bring In Other Stakeholders

A major part of why many HubSpot portals are broken is they were implemented to serve the needs of one specific team (often marketing). Ultimately it's a revenue tool, and whether it's your primary CRM or not, or your primary Customer Service tool or not, the data HubSpot generates impacts revenue teams across the board.
If HubSpot is your company's primary revenue tool, sales, marketing, and CS should ALL have equal influence over it. Even if you have Salesforce and Zendesk, all revenue teams need to be in the room at least part of the time.
The data HubSpot collects absolutely impacts their systems, and contacts are handed off from HubSpot to their teams.
It's all connected, and while you may be leading the effort alongside your HubSpot consultant, your peers in other departments need to be part of the engagement.

Sales, marketing, and CS should work closely - and HubSpot is a great excuse to start some important conversations with those teams.


They Test Before They Deploy

HubSpot is typically run by people who move fast because the system moves fast. on the other hand tends to be run like an IT tool, with sandboxes, sprints, and blackout periods.
The right approach is somewhere in between. Not everything needs to be extensively tested in a sandbox environment. Heck, that's not even really possible with some HubSpot functions (such as pulling in custom object dynamic fields into a marketing email).
I include this one because I've learned it the hard way - consultants need to test everything before deployment. Sometimes it has to be tested in a live environment, with live data, but there are ways to build guardrails around things to see how the new process impacts things - and maybe more importantly, the downstream effects in HubSpot and other systems.

They Teach

Ideally you won't be reliant on a HubSpot consultant forever. Build some training time into your consultant engagement so that you and your team can begin to operate independently and reliably in HubSpot.
Ultimately the value of a consultant is senior-level RevOps (not just HubSpot) knowledge applied to your instance with an overarching strategy. But that strategy will result in a handful of key processes that will need to be maintained for years to come.
The consultant won't be around to do that, but your team and future team members will. Your team won't be able to know everything the consultant knows, but they should be able to maintain the system's essentials after a while.

They Document

Revenue Operations documentation stinks. And I understand it - it takes more time to explain a process than it takes to actually build, test and deploy the process. The proceses change all the time, and it's difficult to explain it in a way that makes sense to non-RevOps pros, also.
AND no one ever actually accesses it. Even when things break, it's not like anyone is running to the documentation to fix it. They just desperately hunt for the RevOps/HubSpot admin to FIX IT.
And these problems will persist indefinitely, or until it becomes common to have multilayered RevOps teams (a luxury enjoyed by only the largest organizations currently).
At least that's my experience. Sorry for the rant.
This doesn't mean your HubSpot consultant is free to build without documentation. The effort still must be made, and a smart consultant will make the effort to communicate things in a clear, concise way that makes sense and can be easily accessed.
That might be in the description fields HubSpot provides in properties, lists, and workflows. It might be in a note taking platform like Notion or a Google Doc.
Regardless, the effort needs to be made, and the smart consultant will regularly review it with the client.

The secret weapon I've found in process documentation? Videos. A short Loom is preferable to a written document, at least to a lot of people. Documentation should include a written description AND a video explanation.

And stuff will still break, like it always does, and you'll still immediately run to the consultant to help. Or will you?

How did we get here?

Five years ago, HubSpot was primarily a marketing tool that had a companion CRM and a basic (but buggy) Service Hub. It was primarily managed by the marketing team, who approached HubSpot from a very different standpoint than a traditional CRM administrator or Client Success pro.
In some of these companies the marketing person running HubSpot evolved into a revenue operations administrator, which is very different than a marketing operations pro. In most though, HubSpot continues to be managed by marketers, even as other critical business functions moved into the platform. 
Between constant layoffs, shrinking budgets, and continued demand for revenue generation, HubSpot is becoming a pain for companies without the resources to build a full RevOps team. Ergo, the need for consultants and contractors.
The good news is there's a robust community of HubSpot partners, from gigantic agencies to sharp independent consultants and moonlighters. Regardless of your budget or the complexity of your needs, there's someone out there who can help you.
Just make sure you don't lower your expectations and that every part of your revenue organization is improved with the efforts of your consultant.
Brandon Carter
Post by Brandon Carter
Feb 8, 2024 11:04:11 PM
HubSpot Certified Trainer and consultant. Co-Founder of the Salt Lake City HubSpot User Group and veteran marketer with 20+ years of experience.